Tascam has announced the Portacapture X8 6-Input / 6-Track Handheld Adaptive Multitrack Recorder. It features 4 XLR inputs, 32-bit float recording, and a touchscreen interface.
The Tascam Portacapture X8 portable is a compact, handheld multitrack recorder that can be used to capture up to six tracks of audio. It could be used for a wide variety of applications. Its detachable condenser mics can be set for a wide or tight stereo image, and they can also be used simultaneously with the mic/line combo inputs.
- Music, Field, Podcast & Voice Recording
- Detachable Adjustable Condenser Mics
- Four XLR-1/4″ Inputs with Phantom Power
- Color Touchscreen, Application Presets
- Records in WAV up to 32-Bit / 192 kHz
- 3.5mm Line and Headphone Outputs
- Auto-Gain, Limiter, Low-Cut Filter, Gate
- Powered via Batteries, USB, or Adapter
- Supports microSD Cards up to 512GB
- Optional Bluetooth Wireless Control
The Portacapture X8 can record in BWF-compliant WAV format at up to 192 kHz / 32-bit float resolution, and it supports multitrack recording up to eight tracks (six inputs plus a stereo mix). Also, dual recording mode enables each track to be recorded in a different file format.
The X8 is claimed to feature premium dual A/D converters and with 32-bit floating-point recording it can achieve a wide dynamic range, which means your signal will not be clipped. This allows the audio level to be increased or decreased later without deteriorating the signal-to-noise ratio. 32-bit float recording is very handy if you can’t monitor the audio yourself or you need to record audio sources from a mixing desk, etc.
Touchscreen User Interface
The Portacapture X8 features a large 3.5″ color touchscreen that is easy to see.
Instead of having to manually configure settings, Tascam has included presets that optimize the recorder for common applications such as basic multitrack recording, podcasts, music, voice (interviews, vlog, etc.), field recordings, and ASMR.
Detachable Condenser Microphones
The Portacapture X8 uses detachable 14.6mm large-diaphragm condenser microphones. Both mics can be detached/attached to form A-B or X/Y mic configurations. You can use the A-B position (capsules facing outward) to produce a wide stereo image, or switch to the X-Y position (capsules facing inward) if you need a tighter stereo field with a strong center presence and fewer phase differences.
When the mics are not connected, input jacks 1 and 2 can be used to bring in lavalier mics with 3.5mm TRS plugs, even if they need plug-in power.
Four Combo XLR-1/4″ Mic/Line Inputs with Phantom Power
The X8 features four Neutrik XLR-1/4″ TRS combo jacks that support mic- and line-level sources, that allows you to record external microphones or balanced outputs from a mixer or FOH console. With switchable 24 or 48V phantom power, the HDDA (High-Definition Discrete Architecture) mic preamps can serve a variety of microphones such as dynamic or condenser types. Using the onboard microphones, you can capture the ambient sound of an audience while recording direct from an external console, which is ideal for live performances. Additionally, there is a 3.5mm mic input that can supply plug-in power for lavalier mics or compact shotgun mics, and a 3.5mm camera input for monitoring the return from a DSLR.
The complete inputs and outputs are:
2 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Female Unbalanced Mic Input
4 x Combo XLR-1/4″ TRS Female Balanced Line/Mic Input (Lockable)
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Female Unbalanced Camera Input
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Female Unbalanced Camera/Line Output
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Female Unbalanced Headphone Output
3.5mm Line and Headphone Outputs
When you want to record to your camera and the Portacapture X8, just connect the 3.5mm camera/line output from the Portacapture X8 into your camera’s input. A separate 3.5mm output is provided to allow critical listening through headphones without disconnecting the camera feed. Quick monitor checks can be done through the Portacapture X8’s built-in mono speaker.
USB Microphone & Audio Interface Functionality
Equipped with a USB Type-C port, the Portacapture X8 can be connected to your computer for real-time bidirectional audio routing and streaming. Utilizing plug-and-go driverless functionality, the Portacapture X8 can be used as a USB microphone or as an 8-in/2-out audio interface for your favorite audio software. For convenient file transfers, the Portacapture X8 can function as a card reader when connected via USB.
Supports microSD Cards up to 512GB
The Portacapture X8 records directly to media cards (available separately). microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC cards (up to 512GB capacity) are supported for long recording times, even at high audio resolutions.
Powered via AA Batteries, USB, or AC Adapter
The X8 includes four AA alkaline batteries. For long-duration sessions that require extended recording time, the Portacapture X8 may be powered via a USB connection to a computer or mobile battery, or through the Tascam PS-P520U AC adapter (available separately).
Battery life is claimed to be the following:
11 Hours (AA Alkaline, 2 Channels, Phantom Off, Recording)
9.5 Hours (AA NiMH, 2 Channels, Phantom Off, Recording)
18 Hours (AA Lithium-Ion, 2 Channels, Phantom Off, Recording)
The Portacapture X8 is fairly compact and light. It weighs in at 13.4 oz / 381 g (without Batteries) and it has physical dimensions of 3.3 x 8.1 x 1.6″ / 83 x 205.6 x 41.5 mm.
There is a 1/4″-20 threaded hole on the underside of the Portacapture X8 that allows you to mount it on a mic stand or tripod, or you can attach the X8 directly to your camera via its integrated cold shoe mount.
Built-In Level Modes & Signal Processing Enhance Audio Quality
The Portacapture X8 has built-in level modes and signal processing. You can engage automatic level control to increase or decrease the recording volume when the input sound is too quiet or loud, and switch on the compressor and limiter to compress the signal before it reaches the point of distortion.
You can also mitigate wind noise and low-frequency rumble by selecting the low-cut filter, and cut background noise between performances with the noise gate. Reverb is also available for situations that call for some extra ambiance.
Tone Generator for Synchronizing Files
Unfortunately, the X8 doesn’t feature any timecode in or out unless you use the optional AK-BT1 dongle. Instead, you need to rely on an internal tone generator to synchronize files recorded on the Portacapture X8 and your camera. When the Portacapture X8 is connected to a camera, use the slate tone function to send an audible tone to the camera and the Portacapture X8. The resulting tones can be used as guides when synchronizing your files in video editing software.
Wireless Remote Control
Wireless control from a smartphone or tablet can be done using the separately available AK-BT1 Bluetooth dongle.
Using the AK-BT1, timecode sync is also possible.
Price & Availability
The Tascam Portacapture X8 is now available to pre-order for $499 USD. It is expected to start shipping at the end of December.
The Portacapture X8 looks like a decent product and it could make for a nice portable audio recorder that you can keep in your kit bag.